THE ABILITY of rabbits to regenerate the lens of the eye was observed and described by French investigators in 1824. Now, Arlene Gwon, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, Irvine, and colleagues have used that model in developing techniques to induce lens regeneration.
The investigators use ultrasound to break up the material within the rabbit lens capsule (phacoemulsification). The cȯntents are aspirated, and fetal cells are placed within the lens capsule.
The pattern of regrowth follows that of embryonic development. The crystallin proteins that develop are the same as in the adult lens, but in proportions similar to those found in fetal lenses, the researchers explained at the recent Research to Prevent Blindness science writers' conference in Arlington, Va. They add that this model can be used to study the influence of growth factors, either to promote or inhibit growth.Presently, 1 million Americans have cataract surgery